I must not need this!

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  #1  
Old 10-20-05, 08:13 PM
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I must not need this!

I wanted to write about a call today in hopes it would help others in making the correct decisions.

The heater was located in an apartment building and was a Rheem GN series. It could of been any manufacturer's heater, this doesn't matter. The tenants have been out of hot water for 6 days.

Of course we got the call the heater wasn't working and it was a emergency. Arriving on the site you need to size the situation up and try to get an understanding of what happen. First I realized that this heater was servicing 25 apts. Nothing wrong with that as long as the owner knows that every year he will need to replace his heater and at times maybe the hot water will run short. YES WE KNOW HE SAYS.

Okay, on to the heater. I entered the heater room and I immediately spotted something different attached to the heater. This was nothing new since many manufactures change things with out notification. But not this time!

I started to realize from my college days what I was looking at. It was a "Fish Aquarium Pump!"

It seems that the apartment manager under the gun because the heater was not working and restricted by a budget, sought alternatives to fixing the problem.

On a Rheem GN series the intake screen must be kept clean for proper operation. It is amazing that no time is taken to read the manual. Anyway, the screen became plugged thus the pressure switch failed to actuate by design. Normally for most service companies this is a minimum service call. Clean the screen and teach them how to do it in the future.

Not so for this case. The manager having just enough knowledge to get him into trouble decided to connect a fish aquarium pump to the fan motor power wires.

Now when the fan motor powered up, remember the intake is still blocked, the aquarium air pump would come on and send the required air pressure to the pressure switch. Waa..la.. the heater worked. But for only 2 months, then the heat exchanger area of the heater became so blocked with soot that finally the burner box burned up.

Now he called for help. What would of been a $100.00 turned into $2000.00 because he was on a budget. OY!
 
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  #2  
Old 10-21-05, 06:28 AM
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Gotta love the general public messing with stuff best left to a professional. In my line of work, the penny-savers are the ones who tow-rope their vehicle to their favorite mechanic because it won't start and then have to have it towed to a tranny shop because the transmission is smoked, trading a $50 tow bill for a $1500 tranny repair.
 
  #3  
Old 10-21-05, 08:44 AM
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tow guy:

what?

i don't know a thing about cars. what are you saying? that pulling a dead car in neutral will damage it's transmission?
 
  #4  
Old 10-21-05, 10:55 AM
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You know how many times I've went to a call where they have already tore it apart, put it back together all wrong then complain because I have to take so long getting it back in proper order?

Some people just need their tools taken away for real.
 
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Old 10-22-05, 05:07 AM
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Depends on the vehicle, annette. Some cars will tolerate having their drive wheels on the ground while being towed better than others. Generally Fords and Chevies are somewhat more tolerant than Chrysler products. Quite a few imports don't tolerate it AT ALL. We carry a big flip manual that gives us that information, but as a general rule of thumb we always tow with the drive wheels off the ground, unless for instance it has two flat tires on the other end. Then we have to consult the book, drop a drive shaft (on rear wheel drive vehicles) or use a flatbed. Another alternative is to have the engine running which circulates the tranny fluid properly. This works in the case of dual flats, but not for cars that are being towed becasue they don't run, obviously.

On the stuff that IS towable with the drive wheels rolling, the most frequent limitation is no more than 35 mph for 50 miles, but LOTS of vehicles will say
"0" mph for "0" miles.

Even on some MANUAL transmission vehicles, it is possible to cause damage to the transmission towing on the drive wheels. The older stuff with manual trans are not a problem, but some of the newer models are engineered differently and it is possible to cook them towing on the drive wheels.

P.S. What are you driving, Annette; I'll look it up.
 

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 10-22-05 at 05:57 AM.
  #6  
Old 10-24-05, 06:54 AM
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that's really interesting! thanks for explaining it! don't worry - when it comes to car problems, hubby & i call the pro's!
 
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